Front Royal police have responded to seven suspected drug overdoses since Jan. 1, with four of them resulting in deaths.

In the 36 hours leading up to Friday, the department had responded to two overdose-related deaths in which opiates were suspected to have been used by the victims, a news release from the department states. A third over that following weekend was also reported.

The Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force, which includes enforcement personnel from Clarke, Frederick, Page and Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Departments and Front Royal, Luray, Strasburg and Winchester police departments as well as the state police, reported Wednesday that there have been seven fatal overdoses in the region this year, with six since Jan. 20.

Those fatal overdoses include three in Front Royal between Jan. 20-23, two in Clarke County between Jan. 20-22, and one in Shenandoah County on Jan. 26.

Seven nonfatal overdoses have been reported in 2021, with one in Front Royal, Winchester and Frederick County since Jan. 20.

The recent opioid-related overdoses are likely the result of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. The release from the task force notes that just 2 milligrams of fentanyl are potentially deadly to the average person.

The increase in overdoses comes as the Warren County Sheriff’s Office is leaving the task force on Monday to focus efforts on the county and increase interdiction efforts to cut off the supply of drugs into the area.

Warren County Sheriff Mark Butler said he is sticking with the decision to leave the task force.

“Warren County Sheriff’s Office will give every effort, 100%, to remove the drugs from Warren County and to protect our community,” Butler said by phone on Thursday.

Contact Charles Paullin at cpaullin@nvdaily.com